Grain Prices Pop as Sugar Drops


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Grains prices were popping as weather concerns for corn and wheat plantings rose.

Wheat for July delivery was popping 2.2% to $8.53 ¼ a bushel, while July corn was up 1.9% to $7.58 ¾ a bushel. Soybean for July delivery was falling 0.2% to $13.87 ½ a bushel, after rising earlier, as supply pressure took hold. iPath Dow Jones-UBS Grains Subindex Total Return ETN ( JJG) was rising 1.2% to $55.86 and the Teucrium Corn Fund ( CORN) was gaining1.5% to $46.52.

The July sugar contract was falling 1.9% to 23.36 cents a pound.

"We are now in a full blown weather market after the three-day holiday weekend with heavy rains seen delaying corn plantings across the Midwest, while dry areas across the globe are raising concerns about global wheat production," a Benson Quinn Commodities report noted.

Soybeans, the report said, "are along for the ride. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said net soybean export sales of 349,000 metric tons were "up noticeably" in the week of April 21, from the previous week , and from the prior four-week average.

Meanwhile, a Penson Futures report cautions that soybean support from weather in Brazil is "in danger of becoming irrelevant" as agricultural consultant Safras e Mercado estimates the current soybean harvest to be at 92% vs. 93% last year and 86% on average. Furthermore, a Benson Quinn report notes that the harvest in Argentina continues, while the outlook in the U.S. points to more acres for soybean plantings due to corn planting delays.

Soybeans are being "pressured from ongoing harvest activity in South America and the cheaper grain it is making available," said MaxYield Cooperative analyst Karl Setzer.

Looking at grains as a whole, Setzer said there will be an impact on grain trade from the May contracts all going into delivery this week. However, many nearby contracts have already been rolled to the deferred months, which should help reduce market volatility, he said.

Sugar futures were selling off, with prices down more than 10% year to date, amid weak demand.

Luke Mathews at Commonwealth Bank of Australia noted that the weakening white-raw sugar spread during February and the temporary closure of Al Khaleej Sugar Co., the world's largest refinery, is evidence of the subdued demand.

Increasing Thai production prospects and talk of Indian exports has also weighed heavily on global sugar prices over the past few months, said Mathews.

iPath Dow Jones-UBS Sugar Subindex Total Return ETN ( SGG) was falling 1.2% to $75.62.

Grains transporter Archer Daniels Midland Company ( ADM) was falling 1.3% to $35.58, while corn processor Corn Products International ( CPO) was down 1% to $53.55. Fertilizer producers Mosaic ( MOS) and Intrepid Potash ( IPI) were down 1% to $76.01 and 2.2% to $34, respectively.

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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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